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Marine Radioactivity Assessment of the Aqaba Gulf Area

Project Number: JOR/2/005

Duration: 2003-2005


To develop institutional capability to assess marine radionuclides by sampling of seawater, sediment, and biota and their subsequent analysis in a laboratory.


The Jordan Atomic energy Authority (JAEC) intends to develop analytical capabilities to undertake monitoring of the Aqaba Gulf for presence of alpha-, beta-, and gamma-emitting radioactive isotopes, to ensure safety in promoting tourism and developing economic projects in the Aqaba zone areas. Although Jordan has certain infrastructure facilities, including laboratory staff and some laboratory facilities, the counterpart staff still require training and expert guidance to develop analytical capabilities for surveillance of the marine environment from radionuclide contamination. Also, necessary equipment and analytical facilities will be needed for sampling of seawater, sediment, and biota and for subsequent laboratory analysis and data evaluation. Although it would not be necessary for continuous monitoring now, the country should be prepared for a possible emergency situation with release of radionuclides to the marine environment from the different sources in the future. Analytical facilities designed to be developed under a similar project request from Jordan will help the implementation of the project in close co-operation with the research teams devoted to the two projects.

National Commitment:

The proposed project activities are oriented towards typical capacity building, and a basic laboratory infrastructure is available for that purpose. Authorities in Jordan want to promote tourism by ensuring the safety of the Aqaba Gulf area and to this effect created an Aqaba Special Economic Zone. The counterpart indicated adequate co-ordination between the potential user groups belonging to JAEC, Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, and Jordan University in the matters of sampling, analysis, and data evaluation. JAEC has already constructed the major facilities and has the necessary infrastructure to implement the project.

Agency Input:

Expert guidance on marine sampling procedures, development of alpha, beta, and gamma spectrometry procedures, fellowship training on marine sampling and sample analysis, equipment for alpha-spectrometry, water and sediment sampling, and a high-purity germanium (HPGe) well-type detector will be provided by the Agency.

Performance Indicators:

  • Establishment of a marine radioanalytical laboratory.
  • Establishment of a marine sampling laboratory.
  • Number of staff trained to undertake monitoring work at the sea.
  • Establishment and availability of a database on radionuclide contamination in the Aqaba Gulf area.

Expected Results:

Development of local capabilities for collecting marine samples such as seawater, sediment, and biota for analysis of radionuclides and assessment of the present situation with respect to radionuclide contamination of the marine environment (Aqaba Gulf area).

Project Impact:

The assessment of marine contamination and identification of effective steps to control/reduce it will have a positive effect on the use of Aqaba Gulf area for tourism and other economic activities. Monitoring of radionuclides in the sea over time will help to identify sources of radionuclide contamination in the area.